While Washington D.C. and New York are often thought of as museum capitals of the country, Philadelphia is right up there offering a plethora of great museums. While you’ve likely heard of the Philadelphia Art Museum, today we share an unprecedented listing of 26 museums in Philadelphia grouped by interest. Are you ready?
For the Historian
- Museum of the American Revolution – New museum (opened in 2017), this museum tells the story of the American Revolution.
Address: 101 South Third Street Philadelphia, PA 19106
- Benjamin Franklin Museum – At the Benjamin Franklin Museum you can “explore [Benjamin] Franklin’s life and character. The museum features artifacts, computer animations, and interactive displays.”
Address: 317 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106 [entrance between 3rd and 4th streets]
- Independence Hall – See where both the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the U.S. Constitution (1787) were signed. A sure-to-be historic experience.
Address: 520 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19106.
- Liberty Bell Center – Just steps away from Independence Hall, see the iconic Liberty Bell with Independence hall situated in the background.
Address: 526 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19106 [entrance doors are located on north end of the building]
- Philadelphia History Museum – Founded in 1938, this museum boasts over 100,000 objects exploring all facets of the city of Philadelphia from the 1680s to today – from unique collections, portraits, the world’s largest walkable map of Philadelphia, and much more.
Address: 15 South 7th Street Philadelphia, PA 19106
- National Constitution Center – Just steps from Independence Hall, this modern-day museum provides a state of the art experience dedicated to all things related to the U.S. Constitution – with hands-on activities, theatrical and live performances, and interactive exhibits, there’s nothing quite like it.
Address: Independence Mall 525 Arch Street Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106
- Betsy Ross House – The birthplace of the American flag, tour the house and learn about Betsy Ross.
Address: 239 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19106
- Eastern State Penitentiary – Eastern State Penitentiary, ‘America’s Most Historic Prison,’ is open for tours seven days a week. It is also home to the famous Terror Behind the Walls Halloween Haunted House.
Address: 2027 Fairmount Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19130
- The Penn Museum – “Founded in 1887, the Penn Museum [is] one of the world’s great archaeology and anthropology research museums, and the largest university museum in the United States.”
Address: 3260 South Street Philadelphia, PA 19104
Ethnic, Cultural and Religious Museums
- African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) – A block from Independence National Historic Park and a short walk from the Pennsylvania Convention Center, “Visit [the museum and] experience the richness and vibrancy of African American heritage and culture.” Experience 4 exhibition galleries filled with history, art, and culture.
Address: 701 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19106
- National Museum of American Jewish History — “Established in 1976, and situated on Philadelphia’s Independence Mall, the National Museum of American Jewish History is the only Museum in the nation dedicated exclusively to exploring and interpreting the American Jewish experience.”
Address: 101 South Independence Mall East Philadelphia, PA 19106
- Polish American Cultural Center – Learn more about Polish history, culture, and pride.
Address: 308 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19106
- American Swedish Historical Museum – Founded in 1926, this is the oldest Swedish-American Museum in the United States. Experience 12 exhibition galleries in a 20,000-square foot beautiful building situated in South Philadelphia.
Address: 1900 Pattison Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19145.
For the Artist and Aspiring Artists
- Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) – PAFA is the first museum and school of fine arts in the nation founded in 1805. This famous art museum features collections of American art from the 1760s to present. Its internationally recognized for its collections of 19th and 20th century American art.
Address: 118-128 North Broad Street Philadelphia, PA 19102
- Philadelphia Museum of Art – This can’t miss world-famous museum is the third largest art museum in the country housing over 240,000 objects. The museum is also known for the famous 72 stone steps climbed in the movie Rocky.
Address: 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130
- Barnes Foundation – A short walk away from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation opened in its current location in 2012, honoring the legacy of Dr. Barnes with one of the world’s greatest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist, and modern European paintings.
Address: 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway Philadelphia, PA 19130
- Rodin Museum – Steps away from the Barnes Foundation, France meets Philadelphia. Opened in November 1929, the Rodin Museum houses one of the largest public collections of famous French sculptor Rodin’s work outside of Paris. It is administered by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Address: 2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway Philadelphia, PA 19130
- The Fabric Workshop and Museum – Contemporary art museum “devoted to creating work in new materials and new media in collaboration with artists from diverse backgrounds.”
Address: 1214 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19107
- Woodmere Art Museum – Located in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood in Philadelphia, this 19th century beautiful stone mansion features more than 6,000 works of art dedicated to the art of Philadelphia.
Address: 9201 Germantown Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19118
For the Scientist, Medical Enthusiasts, and Explorers
- The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University – Founded over 200 years ago, housed right in the city of Philadelphia, this academy features a staggering 18 million specimens and archives from a range of geographies and points in history.
Address: 1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway Philadelphia, PA 19103
- The Franklin Institute – The world-famous Franklin Institute is a blend of science, technology, discovery, and museum. With roots dating back to 1824, the museum has undergone massive expansion and today features 12 exhilarating exhibits (including the brain, electricity, the giant heart, amazing machine), and is often the home of special exhibits.
Address: 222 North 20th Street Philadelphia, PA 19103
- Chemical Heritage Foundation (CHF) – CHF is located in Old City, and collects, preserves, and exhibits historical artifacts and documents the history of science, technology, medicine and industry.
Address: 315 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19106
- Mütter Museum – The Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia is a medical museum that helps visitors understand the deep mysteries and beauty of the human body via its ‘cabinet museum’ setting. The museum welcomes a startling 130,000 visitors each year.
Address: 19 S 22nd Street Philadelphia, PA 19103
- Independence Seaport Museum – Learn about the history of Philadelphia and its waterways at the Independence Seaport Museum at Penn’s Landing waterfront. In season, you can even participate in their boat rental program.
Address: 211 S. Columbus Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19106
- The Rosenbach – Founded in 1954, the Rosenbach is a historic house museum and research library that today features one of the nation’s most important collections of rare books, manuscripts, and fine art. Most of what is seen on the tour was gathered by the Rosenbachs’ (the Rosenbach brothers and their business partner were the founders), but the collections have grown considerably over the years.
Address: 2008-2010 Delancey Place Philadelphia, PA 19103
- Please Touch Museum – A children’s museum focused on enriching children’s lives through play and discovery. Permanent exhibits include city capers (a city built for kids), road side attractions (where kids can “travel around town”), river adventures, Please Touch Garden, and lots more.
Address: 4231 Avenue of the Republic (formerly North Concourse Drive) Philadelphia, PA 19131
You’ll likely need several weeks (if not longer) to see all these museums but hopefully the groupings by interest make it easier for you to find what’s most appealing to you. Good luck and happy museuming!
Pro Tip: It’s a good idea to check the website(s) and call ahead for helpful information, including ticket prices (if applicable), hours of operation, special programming, events, and more.